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About the book
  • Published: 1 December 2008
  • ISBN: 9780224076937
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 264
  • RRP: $100.00

On Paper


Formats & editions


Speaking recently about his early years as an artist Lucian Freud claimed, ‘I would have thought I did 200 drawings to every painting in those early days. I very much prided myself on my drawing.’ Drawing is fundamental to Freud’s development as an artist and to how he sees in a way that that it was not, for example, at the foundation of the work of Francis Bacon. Drawing became an important part of Freud’s life from the start and a famous sketchbook, The Freud-Schuster Book, dating back to January 1940 when Freud was in Snowdonia with Stephen Spender, has survived. So too do sketches from Freud’s life as a merchant seaman on a cargo vessel in the Atlantic in 1941. His then surreal style lent itself to illustrations and his fascination with animals, birds and fish was revealed in the famous line drawings he produced for Nicholas Moore’s book of poems, The Glass Tower (1944).

On Paper charts the works on paper, including the etchings, over his entire career. It includes the formative early work, the sketches in preparation for painting his masterpiece, Large Interior W11 (after Watteau) (1983), the sketches of the completed painting in the studio and the astonishing later studies of his mother. The book ends with the etchings of recent years. The works on paper are an extraordinary achievement, providing even deeper insights into the work of the greatest figurative artist of our time.

Introduction by Sebastian Smee

Essay by Richard Calvocoressi

Speaking recently about his early years as an artist Lucian Freud claimed, ‘I would have thought I did 200 drawings to every painting in those early days. I very much prided myself on my drawing.’ Drawing is fundamental to Freud’s development as an artist and to how he sees in a way that that it was not, for example, at the foundation of the work of Francis Bacon. Drawing became an important part of Freud’s life from the start and a famous sketchbook, The Freud-Schuster Book, dating back to January 1940 when Freud was in Snowdonia with Stephen Spender, has survived. So too do sketches from Freud’s life as a merchant seaman on a cargo vessel in the Atlantic in 1941. His then surreal style lent itself to illustrations and his fascination with animals, birds and fish was revealed in the famous line drawings he produced for Nicholas Moore’s book of poems, The Glass Tower (1944).

On Paper charts the works on paper, including the etchings, over his entire career. It includes the formative early work, the sketches in preparation for painting his masterpiece, Large Interior W11 (after Watteau) (1983), the sketches of the completed painting in the studio and the astonishing later studies of his mother. The book ends with the etchings of recent years. The works on paper are an extraordinary achievement, providing even deeper insights into the work of the greatest figurative artist of our time.


Introduction by Sebastian Smee

Essay by Richard Calvocoressi

  • Pub date: 1 December 2008
  • ISBN: 9780224076937
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 264
  • RRP: $100.00

About the Author

Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud was born in Berlin in 1922. He was the grandson of Sigmund Freud. His work has been recognised and exhibited since 1944 in the major museums worldwide.

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